Friday, July 15, 2011

Visual Separation

When I had my back steps designed and built, I asked for 2 hooks to be installed at each end.  I didn't know what I would use them for, but I figured I'd want to hang something from there at some point. 

As I step out my backdoor and look to the right, because my house is uphill from the neighbors house I can see right over the 6 foot fence and into their backyard.  Likewise, I am in full view of them when I step out.  They are very nice, and it's not as though I spend a ton of time hanging out on the landing outside my door, but nonetheless, I want a bit of a visual barrier there.

I saw this photo in a book some time back and liked it...I saved it in my Outdoor Project Idea file....

And when thinking about what to hang in the landing opening I decided to modify it from a table light to just a hanging design:

I am also going to build a second frame to hang on the other side -- you can see the hooks on the end on the right.

And here's the other side - bonus that it matches the brick...

This is again lumber re-purposed from my neighbor's deck -- (ironically the deck that I used to look over the fence and see; now they've built a new one.  They recently finished demolition and had more lumber, but oddly they didn't offer it to me -- I think because I showed them the potting table I built from the first batch they realized the potential of re-purposed lumber.  Drat.)  Anyway I digress... so the side of the lumber that was under the deck isn't weathered, so it's still a light color shown here.

What remains?  Well, first I need to take the price tags off the silver hooks, and I plan to spray paint the hooks brown to blend in.  And then I am scheming on what, if anything, to put inside the frame.  I have several ideas churning around in my head... so I'll take a few days and let them simmer and see what feels right.

My House - the 1940's

Back in May, I posted about the history of my house in the 1930's.

I sort of forgot I'd planned to take you through the decades... oops.  At any rate, here are the 1940's!

February 16, 1941
I found this newspaper posting:

The Mount Auburn Preschool PTA Association will meet at 10:00 a.m. at the home of Mrs. Nettie, with Mrs. Sanders and Mrs. Martin as co-hostesses.  Founders Day will be observed.  Miss Sara will speak on Government.  Luncheon will be served and a nurse will care for the children.

A nurse was on hand for the children -- isn't that funny?

August 20, 1942
And then sadly, I found an obituary for Nettie's husband Scott --  known to his friends as "Buck."  It reads,

"Funeral services for Scott, 47, veteran member of the Dallas Police Department who died suddenly at his home, will be conducted Friday morning ... He was a fingerprint expert in the police department's bureau of identification.  He joined the force in 1919 as a patrolman and was transffered to identification in 1927.  He was a native of De Berry, Panola County.  Active in church and lodge work, he was a member of the Gaston Avenue Bapsits church, the Washington Masonic Lodge, Hella Temple Shrine and the Scottish Rite.  Surviving are his wife Nettie, a son, a daughter, and two sisters." 

It then lists the names of the pallbearers and says that all members of the DPD will be honorary pallbearers.  I wish the newspaper had included a photograph. 

I think back in the 40's it wasn't all that unusual for people to die at home; although since it says he "died suddenly" it wasn't from an injury or old age, so ...  When I researched my house, I also researched the house next door, and a resident died in that house as well, in the same year.   When I told my neighbor about it, she freaked out.  I don't know... it doesn't bother me, I guess, knowing someone passed away in my house.  :::shrug:::  I may even go find John's headstone...

I had found a mention that they had one child, but not if it was a boy or a girl.  This obit confirms two children.  It gives their names... When I pick up my research again I may see where they are these days.

November 3, 1943
I located a newspaper article about John G. who in 1944 rented a room from Nettie (along with his wife.)  The article reads,

Washington (UP)  Fourteen wounded American soldiers, the first to be repatriated from Germany under an agreement for the exchange of sick and wounded prisoners, arrived by plane at the National Airport Tuesday night and were tranferred immediately to Walter Reed General Hospital.  Their arrival was announced by the War Department which gave no further details.  The men, returned to this country by way of Sweden and Britain, last were reported in Londer about a week ago.  They were taken from German prison camps at gotesborg, Sweden, and transferred to Britain aboard a vessel which sailed under safe conduct.  The men included Tech. Sergt. John G., son of ... from Yoakum, Texas."

I had found previous articles about John where he was on furlough and was visiting his parents.  He had been training in radio, signal and television in Fresno, CA.  Several other men were featured in the article, "Fightin' Men -- News of Texans in U.S. Service," and there were photos of many, but alas, none of John.  He went on to advanced radio training at Camp Crowder in Missouri.  He had previously graduated from Adamson High School and was a former employee of North American Aviation.

John G. and his wife Reba moved into the house.  They were not the owners; presumably rented it from Nettie.  John worked as a clerk at the Federal Reserve Bank - Dallas. 

1947 - 1948
Mrs. Nettie moved back into the house alone; she owned the house. She took as job as a lunch room worker at Long Junior High School. John also lived in the house. (I suspect he rented the front room, which is now my guest room.  It has its own front door, and at some point there was a sink in the closet.)  At this point there isn't any mention of John's wife Reba.

1948 - 1949
Nettie Stroud lived in the house, but John Gardner had moved out. Nettie continued to work in the school lunch room.

I think about how Nettie's life changed when her husband Scott died.  She rented out the front room, and took a job at the school; presumably needing income.  It's sort of sad.  She is clearly the one person who lived in my house the longest of anyone -- I think of it as her house.  I think she must have been happy here, to have stayed so long.  Of course, that could just be me, projecting....  :::grin::::

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Outdoor soap dish

A co-worker gave me this little soap dish for my birthday.  She says she thought it would be perfect affixed to my potting table next to the sink.  I don't have the sink yet, but I know I'll get one -- and I love love love this little faucet soap dish!  It will be just perfect!

It's made of metal and has a bit of heft to it.  I'll have to figure out a way to attach it with screws or something.  The faucet part of it is just for looks; it won't really carry water.  I really will have a bar of soap in the tray though!

The bar of soap that's in it has a clever box for packaging -- alas once again I didn't think to take an up close photo -- so once again I'll update later.  It's pretty funny...


I remembered to take the photos... will miracles never cease...

On a mostly unrelated note, sometimes when I post photos they post upside down, regardless if the original orientation is correct.  Today I figured out that if I first save them as a .png file, that doesn't seem to happen.  Just in case anyone else is having that issue... who knew?

Guess Who's Back?

When I got up yesterday morning and let the dee-oh-gee out, I heard some commotion in the alley.  I couldn't see anything because the noise was from a little bit down the alley from me, but I had a pretty good idea of what was going on.  By the time I left for work, I saw that my "friends" were back.

I couldn't tell their purpose, but they were definitely moving dirt for the umpteenth time. 

After work that afternoon I went to get the dog from boarding, and when I came home (my eye on a shower --) I heard, "Excuse me -- ma'am?  Ma'am?  Excuse me --" and realized it was the construction crew calling to me. 

"[unintelligible] problems with the water."  ?  He said it twice and I still was confused.  Was he asking me if I am having trouble with water, or telling me that he has trouble with my water....?  Turns out, he was having trouble with my water, which of course in turn meant that I was going to have trouble.  It was nearly 5 p.m. -- e.g. quittin' time.  Uh-oh.  He advised that they were going to turn it off, and that he hoped it would be back on in about an hour.  Extreme skepticism but -- I agreed.  Did I really have a choice?

An hour came and went.  Since I was already hot and sweaty from dog walking and errand running I figured I may as well really get my sweat on (what was it yesterday -- 101?  102?) and stay outdoors since I couldn't go in and shower.  Dog begged to go inside -- she hates the heat -- so in she went. 

Back story:  Last week I put most of the furniture from my guest room up into the attic.  Suddenly I just needed some wide open spaces in there.  Up went the low round table.  Up went the little iron and ceramic tile end table.  UP went the four huge floor pillows.  Out to the dining room went the loveseat.  All that remains is my tiny little rocking chair and some bookcases.  Ahhhh.  And, well, a heap of electronics and my wooden box of house files. 

Back back story:  Up until a couple of months ago when I finally got my wireless internet to work at home (no thanks to AT&T; hel-lo Time Warner!) my laptop was tethered to my ethernet cable, and my modem to a phone jack -- my laptop location options were rather... limited.  Now I can go anywhere -- porch -- livingroom -- oh the surfing bliss -- so I can finally think about where I want my computer and printer to live.  For lack of a better idea I've had them in the guest room.  Truth be told I rarely use my printer, and my laptop has been living under the livingroom couch -- but I can recognize that some type of desk set up would be handy.  Sometime.  Somewhere.  But for now?  A heap in the guest room.

So back to the heat and lack of shower... I spied one of the three benches from my neighbor's deck demolition and decided to re-purpose the shortest one for a bench in the guest room.  I got out the Skil saw and remembered it needed the blade replaced.  I jiggered with it for a while trying to figure out how in the heck to get the old blade off before I gave in and called Red for counsel.  Got that switched out -- got 2 of the 3 cuts done that I needed to do -- but I needed an extra set of hands for the third one.  I mean, I probably could have done it, but I really wanted to keep all of my limbs and appendages.  I texted a neighbor who has repeatedly offered to help with projects because she wants to learn about power tools -- and she came over to help.  Zip zip and it was done and she helped me carry in inside.

Handily, she also speaks Spanish so I asked her if she minded going to chat with the construction crew to see if I could really count on water coming back on... she was glad for the excuse to keep her Spanish fresh.  I thought the guys were going to break their necks when she started speaking to them -- so surprised to hear Spanish coming from my yard (they were now half a crew inside my fence and half a work crew in the alley with shovels) -- but they said they were just about done -- and by 8 p.m. I did have water.  Not exactly an hour, but I'm sporting some new copper pipe junctions for my water connection.  I'm really wishing I'd taken a photo when I peered down into the hole before they totally covered it with dirt.  Drat.

And, speaking of photos -- I also neglected to take one of the bench.  I'll do that tonight and update this (very long rambling) post.  I guess I'm out of blogging practice ...  Now that it's so hot out, I suspect the outdoor project will wane and the indoor projects will fire back up.  More house posts and fewer garden posts coming up!


I need to add trim to the left end to finish it -- but I wanted to see if I even liked it in here before that effort.  It's sort of a mish-mash of stuff just thrown on it at this point, but it's better than having all the stuff on the floor.  That's my worm farm on the left -- that burgundy box looking thing.  Things are happenin' in there!  : )

Monday, July 11, 2011


I've been traveling ... hence the lack of posts.  For your viewing pleasure --- the scene of a tranquil morning swim in a state where it is not hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk:

Ahhhhh can't you just feel that blissfully cool water?